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Home » August 2006 Game CommentsAugust 2006 » Pivot


Game 115: August 12, 2006
Orioles (51-66), 7
Red Sox (67-48), 8
L: Bruce Chen (0-7)
W: Jonathan Papelbon (4-2)
10 innings

This is how the Red Sox should have played against Tampa Bay and Kansas City, but at least the downturn in play throughout the road trip didn’t continue against the Orioles.

Jason Johnson reminds me of John Burkett. Those aren’t exactly fond memories, but everyone knew when pitchers of that ilk took the mound the offense had to be prepared to score at least five runs and probably more to have a chance at victory. Indeed, Johnson lasted five and one-third innings, gave up seven runs, walked two, and struck out four.

Again the bullpen had to bail out the starter, and the four-headed beast of Julian Tavarez, Craig Hansen, Mike Timlin, and Jonathan Papelbon kept the bases almost completely bird-free, permitting only two hits and a walk between them. Tavarez swayed over some fans with his bases-loaded strikeout for the second out of the sixth only to lose them five pitches later with Brian Roberts’s two-RBI single. He rebounded to whiff Fahey for the final out in the sixth.

Baltimore took an early lead in the first after Johnson gave up consecutive singles to the first two batters. Melvin Mora sacrificed to center and the ancient Jeff Conine doubled to left, each notching RBIs. The Orioles also had multi-run innings in the fourth and sixth to bring their total to seven runs.

Wily Mo Peña made a bid to hit for the cycle but came just a single short. His sharp, two-out, line drive double in the second threatened the structural integrity of the wall and put him in position to score on Doug Mirabelli’s RBI single to left. To begin the fifth, the slugging outfielder belted a humongous home run over the Monster seats closer to center than left, which is jaw-droppingly far. Fellow ballhawk Coco Crisp also made a longball souvenir this his deposit into the short bleachers behind the home bullpen, making up for being thrown out home to kill the third inning.

Peña continued his dominance into the sixth, bringing back his team to within one run with his three-run triple. Mirabelli launched his fifth roundtripper of the season to even the score.

The home team kept the Orioles caged as well as they could with sharp defensive plays. In the third Mark Loretta flashed the leather with a slick snag of Brandon Fahey’s grounder for the first out and Mike Lowell allowed Mora’s bunt attempt to wander foul just before reaching the third base bag. All three of the batters in the third ended up grounding out to second. Mora was victimized by the infield again in the seventh when Alex “Gold Glove” Gonzalez backed up to adjust for the high hop and quickly released the relay to Kevin Youkilis. The Red Sox first baseman had to bellyflop and backhand for the put out, but he was able to keep his foot on the bag to keep the leadoff hitter off the basepaths.

The turning point of the game pivoted on Orioles left fielder Fahey. The slim outfielder doubled in the ninth but tried to stretch his hit to third base when he saw that Manny Ramirez was having difficulty fishing out the ball in the left field corner. Ramirez made a quick relay to cutoff man Gonzalez who impeccably transferred to Lowell to hose Fahey, erasing him from scoring position.

Fittingly, it was Fahey’s fumbling of Ramirez’s ground ball that allowed Gabe Kapler to traverse home for the winning run in the tenth inning. The crowd raucously chanted “Manny! Manny! Manny!”--it seemed as if the force of their cheers alone pushed the ball past the diving Miguel Tejada. Ramirez kept his hitting streak alive and is now seven games away from tying Dom DiMaggio’s 34-game mark.

Jerry Remy, who was part of the Fox broadcasting team yesterday, has a story about why the garage door in center field opened during Crisp’s at bat in the seventh. I’m looking forward to knowing why this distraction happened with the good guys at bat rather than the birds.



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David Crowe
Write On Sports LLC

David, thanks for considering me for inclusion on Write On Sports. You can find other Red Sox blogs here. My favorite blogs and reference sites have their own page here.

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